Three Waters Proposal: “community input needed”

Karangahake Gorge. Photo: Artzentao Photography.

Hauraki District Council has wrapped up its consideration of the Government’s request for initial feedback on their proposed Three Waters Reform.

Mayor Toby Adams has voiced his concerns on behalf of Council in a letter to Te Tari Taiwhenua Internal Affairs today.

The letter is available on Council’s website.

“It’s fair to say more investment and better regulation in this sector is needed, but it would be wrong for us to decide to ‘opt in’ or ‘opt out’ without talking to our community. We were given reassurance from Government that we would have time to do that,” says Mayor Adams.

“We’ve made a commitment to have open-minded two-way engagement with our communities and now is not the time for the Government to change tact on that. It’s crucial that we be allowed sufficient time to undertake this engagement as our communities are waiting to have their say.

“The Three Waters Reform proposals are a once in a lifetime decision for councils and communities so we want to get it right.”

Under the proposed Three Waters governance model, councils will have a significantly reduced (or no) level of direct control on the water service entities and that’s a worry for Adams.

“We’re concerned that the proposed model will result in smaller councils’ voices being lost, which is unacceptable. There’s a chance that larger communities’ growth aspiration and community expectations will be given a higher priority than ours. We think it is essential for councils to have regular, effective communication with the local authority representatives on the Regional Representative Group and that means a local voice at the table."

Another aspect of the proposal will mean regional spatial strategies and land-use plans will have significant influence over water service entities’ asset management and investment decisions, as will water standards and regulations.

“We believe the Future for Local Government Reform process should be completed, or at least be further progressed, before the Three Waters Reform and Resource Management Reform decisions are finalised.

“Making sure councils’ plans for growth are appropriately integrated with water services planning is essential. Councils must be actively and effectively involved in developing regional spatial strategies and natural and built environment plans as a way to reflect local issues and ambitions and so we need local representatives at the governance table.

“Our concern about the on-going delivery of land drainage and flood protection also adds to our concerns about the viability of our Council, post reform.”

And closer to home, ratepayers need to know whether there will be harmonisation of charging across the proposed Entity and if that will increase Hauraki District’s household three waters cost or not.

“As affordability is a key issue in the district, this uncertainty is a concern for us.

"We have calculated the household cost to be $1089, compared to the average $1610 per the Government’s dashboard.

“Ultimately, success looks the same to all of us. We all want to improve our rivers and waterways, we all want our communities to have access to safe and secure drinking water, we all want to support sustainable growth and development, and we all need new and large investment in our infrastructure to do it. How we do this is what our communities need to be part of."

Councils throughout New Zealand assessed the latest Government information in an eight-week review period which concludes on October 1.

Throughout that period, councils provided feedback to Government through Local Government New Zealand.

After October 1 councils will hear from Government and determine next steps on community engagement and any decisions which may need to be made.

For more information and to stay updated go to

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We can only hope......

Posted on 29-09-2021 20:11 | By groutby

.....that each and every Council have the kahunas to reject this ludicrous proposal, and force the government to pass legislation anyway in a non-democratic manner to approve it (which by the sound Minister Mahuta will do), which surely, along with the HePuapua proposal ( when we get detail of both, which we haven’t and there’s a reason for that), will surely sound the ’death knell’ for this government if indeed the entire population haven’t absconded overseas for a better life!

Nanaia Mahuta

Posted on 29-09-2021 20:01 | By Bruja

is getting carried away with herself and her incorrect sense of importance. I have never voted anything other than Labour but this is governance by stealth and this government needs to very smartly realise that they are fooling no-one. Apartheid by stealth is still apartheid.

Disgraceful governance

Posted on 29-09-2021 17:33 | By

There appears to be far fewer people that trust this government and even fewer that trust the minister in charge. However, they push onward with policies that were never raised pre-election and fail at or forget about policies that were front and centre in their pleas to the voting public. The scattergun principle in action - Failed again, but let’s talk-up something else and if we get caught out again, talk about how few deaths we’ve had and how well we’re doing on the international stage. Pathetic.

Makes a lot of sense

Posted on 29-09-2021 16:29 | By Kancho

I have read elsewhere that the government has its numbers wrong and therefore the costings are also. It also seems we are under threat that legislation will be enacted to force it through. Seems a suicidal tactic. Everyone would cleaner rivers etc but still not convinced another centralisation will deliver on the rhetoric and not be an even more costly bureaucracy It seems many don’t understand if we are all New Zealanders who paid for all the current infrastructure at threat why it’s fifty fifty goverance not on skills nor merit but by birth. So much is wrong in NZ and worse it’s a divisional